Basically, I'm thinking about a system, that filtrates, and makes a lake's water drinkable, drives water into my house's faucets without electricity, and all these should be able to work when it is -20 Celsius outside. The water heating is not a problem, it is going to happen with a good old wood consumer stove.

*I even thought about adding a microsystem, that makes energy, like this: https://youtu.be/rPdpnunr1k0

The ram pump I would like to build is something like this:



I draw a basic thing I don't even dare to call a plan:

Water moving

The lake water goes down, into a simple filtration system and makes the mentioned hydro energy tool work, then flows (underground) into the other filtrating tool (under the house), that makes drinkable water. The next stop is a huge container or a few smaller, then the ram pump makes the water go up about 3 meters into a cold water container, and from that to a heatable storage.

The ram pump makes "wastewater" but I could make that into a smaller pond or something.

I wish to know more about this topic so I appreciate every idea to make this notion better and make the pump, the hydropower tool and the whole system more efficient.

Thank you in advance.

Edit: The electricity made with the turbine is to store it in a battery or more batteries, so I could use it to make light or charge a laptop.

The problem I have is to make the system work in -20 Celsius and to use a turbine to make electricity efficiently.

  • $\begingroup$ What height is the lake above the house? $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Dec 30, 2017 at 21:44
  • $\begingroup$ That is only 1 meter (3 feet 3⅜ inches) or less, and the pipe is also one meter deep underground. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 30, 2017 at 22:24
  • $\begingroup$ Is using solar power to charge batteries to run your water pump and equipment not an option? $\endgroup$
    – Milwrdfan
    Commented Jan 3, 2018 at 17:18

2 Answers 2


My grandfather's house had a system like that. According to my dad, it used a tiny pump in a stream to supply the house. A plate about the size of a playing card flopped up and down in the tiny creek and drove a piston pump the size of my pinky. It fed a hose to a tank on the roof about 100 yards away. The tubing was maybe 1/4 inch ID. Assuming about 1/4 cubic inch per stroke and 60 strokes per min, that's 15 cubic inches/min or 3.9 gal per hour. Sounds reasonable. This was more than a century ago, though. You could carry the whole thing in your pocket.

Here's a vastly overcomplicated version called The Plata Pump: http://www.fao.org/docrep/010/ah810e/AH810E214.gifenter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ This fao.org is a great website! Thank you for sharing the system, and the website. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 31, 2017 at 0:54
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @BenjaminBalogh you convey thanks on here by using the upvote on the lhs... $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Dec 31, 2017 at 8:16

1 meter of head is not a lot. You will need a huge flow rate to make this work. Let's just take the "heats a part of the water (for showering) " part. Typical tankless hot water heaters are about 10 to 30 kW. Let's just pick 10 kW. For a 1 liter per second flow at a 1 meter drop, youll get 9.8 watts (see https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydropower) assuming a 100% efficient turbine, so you'll need 1000 liters per second flow rate. At that rate you'd drain an Olympic size swimming pool in about 40 minutes. You'll either need a very big lake or take very short showers.

  • $\begingroup$ " heats a part of the water (for showering) without electricity " By that, I mean I'm not going to use electricity to heat anything. The heating is not a problem, that is with wood in some kind of stove. But the electricity gained by using this kind of method is close to nothing as you just wrote. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 30, 2017 at 23:45
  • $\begingroup$ ok, well in that case I suggest that you edit your question to clarify that point, as I understood that "heats a part of the water" meant that you wanted to heat a part of the water, and I understood that "without electricity" simply meant that your house was not connected to the outside power grid, such that all of the electricity to heat the water was coming from this ram turbine. $\endgroup$
    – Daniel K
    Commented Dec 31, 2017 at 0:15
  • $\begingroup$ OK. I'll do as you said. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 31, 2017 at 0:21

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